RAMSI praises former RSIPF commissioner

Past and present members of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) have thanked the outgoing Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), Mr Frank Prendergast, for his exceptional leadership over the past two and a half years.

Supported by a strong and ethical executive team, Commissioner Prendergast’s impact on the RSIPF has been transformational.  The RSIPF has improved markedly during this period and it is now a much more modern, disciplined, accountable and effective police service.

“The heightened public confidence that the RSIPF enjoys today can be attributed to the very high standards of leadership, ethics, performance and professionalism set and insisted upon by Commissioner Prendergast,” said RAMSI Special Coordinator Quinton Devlin.

Critically, Commissioner Prendergast led the development and implementation of the RSIPF’s Crime Prevention Strategy, which will create the necessary partnerships between the police and communities to maintain law and order across Solomon Islands.  He was also a key player in the fight against corruption, family violence and drink driving.

Commander of the RAMSI Participating Force (PPF) John Tanti added that Commissioner Prendergast had worked extremely hard to ensure that the RSIPF will be in the best possible position and state of readiness when RAMSI leaves in June this year.

“Commissioner Prendergast, his executive leadership group and wider RSIPF team have embarked on a long journey to rebuild capability and grow public confidence in the RSIPF,” said Commander Tanti.

The outgoing Commissioner helped secure several increases to the police budget and a government commitment to continue to increase the budget annually until 2020. This has permitted the accelerated recruitment of new officers and the ongoing roll-out of the RSIPF’s five-year Capability Development Plan to ensure the RSIPF remains an effective and sustainable force that can deal with future security challenges.

Commissioner Prendergast also oversaw the sensitive community consultations and preparations for rearming the RSIPF’s specialist police units, which will be a major and historic milestone in the re-building of the RSIPF.

Another of Commissioner Prendergast’s legacies is the RSIPF’s renewed and inclusive focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The outgoing Commissioner promoted a number of women into senior roles, was a strong advocate of the Seif Ples gender based violence referral centre, and ensured that an equal number of men and women are now included in each recruitment intake.

RAMSI officers also took the opportunity this week to welcome the appointment of Matt Varley as the new RSIPF Commissioner.  Mr Varley has had long and dedicated career in Australian policing and RAMSI is very confident that he will continue to build on the good work and achievements of Commissioner Prendergast.

Commander Tanti said: “Commissioner Prendergast leaves the RSIPF in great shape to continue its positive onward progression, which incoming Commissioner Matthew Varley will undoubtedly continue to foster and grow during his two year tenure”.